Sarcasm, Irony, Satire

Sarcasm, irony, and satire are figures of speech involving statements that are untrue in a literal sense. However, it is expected the audience should understand that the remarks are not true, and will consider them insulting or humorous.

The gullibility of conspiracy theorists is a popular subject of sarcasm, irony, and satire. But being so gullible means many of them are unaware that the remarks are not really true. Many of these people wrongly consider the sarcastic, ironic, and satirical messages as true, and the messages spread as hoaxes in their community.

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Light Scattering Demonstration Using Laser Pointers

Flat-Earthers cannot understand why space appears dark if the Sun is in space, and they use their ignorance to discredit science.

In reality, sunlight does travel through space. However, space is a vacuum, and there is nothing to scatter and redirect the light toward our eyes like in Earth’s atmosphere. We can demonstrate the phenomenon using a low-powered red and green laser pointer in clean air.

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Observing Mercury and Venus

Mercury and Venus are inferior planets. Their orbits are closer to the Sun than Earth. We can see these planets if they are above the horizon, and it will be easier if the Sun is below the horizon. Generally, both planets can be seen early or late in the night.

Flat-Earthers claim we should not be able to see Mercury and Venus as they are closer to the sun, and at night we are facing away from the sun. In reality, early and late in the night, we can look toward the general direction of the Sun & observe both planets.

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Curvature Dilemma

A ship disappearing from the bottom first is an effect of Earth’s curvature. It is not a direct observation of the curve itself. We can only directly see the curve from a high altitude, not from near the surface.

Flat-Earthers present this reality as if it is a dilemma: 1. Earth is too big for us to see the curvature, but 2. We can see ships go over the curvature. It is a false dilemma. Ships disappearing from the bottom first is an effect of Earth’s curvature. Such an observation is different from directly witnessing the curve itself.

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Sound in Space

Sound wave requires medium to propagate. There is no air in space, and therefore, sound cannot travel over space. However, in some cases, sound and vibration can still travel over solid objects —like spacecraft or spacesuits— that exist in space.

In some videos taken in space, things that occur in a vacuum can be heard, and flat-Earthers use it to discredit spaceflight. In reality, 1. sound can still travel over solid spacesuits and spacecraft, 2. vibrations can cause noise in microphones, 3. there is air inside spacesuits and many spacecraft, 4. the sound was heard over the radio communication system, and not directly over space.

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Inflation of Conflict

Inflation of conflict is reasoning that because scientists appear not to agree precisely on an issue, the entire field is assumed not credible, and no conclusion can be reached.

Inflation of conflict is a common flat-Earthers’ argument. They will look for scientists that appear to have conflicting opinions, blow the fact out of proportion, and conclude that both sides are wrong. In reality, the difference in opinions is likely not that fundamental or not even a difference in opinion. They will still agree that Earth is a rotating sphere in motion around the Sun.

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Reflection of the Sun on Rippling Water Surface

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Sun glitter is a bright, sparkling light formed when sunlight reflects from water waves. A rippled by a locally smooth surface such as water with waves will reflect the sun at different angles at each point on the surface of the waves. As a result, a viewer in the right position will see many small images of the sun, formed by portions of waves oriented correctly to reflect the sun’s light to the viewer.

Flat-Earthers use the long shape of the sun’s reflection on a water surface to “prove” Earth is flat. In reality, the shape of the reflection is the result of the rippling water surface. It can easily occur on a curved surface and does not prove a specific shape of Earth.

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Hawaiian-Japanese-Buddhist Flat-Earth Map by Dr. Kobayashi

The lost world is a genre of fiction involving the discovery of an unknown world, popular in the late 1800s and early 1900s when the remnants of lost civilizations were being discovered by westerners. However, newspapers of the era often published such works in a way it might not be obvious that these are just works of fiction.

In 1907, the Hawaiian Gazette published one of such works titled “Was This World Map Made Ten Centuries Ago,” illustrated with the so-called Kobayashi map, for a more powerful story. Flat-Earthers fail to realize it was a work of fiction that was common in the era. The tale & the Kobayashi map spread in flat-Earth communities as a hoax.

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Orbit of DSCOVR Satellite

The DSCOVR satellite orbits around the Lagrangian point L1 between the Sun and Earth. We can say the DSCOVR satellite lies between the Sun and Earth, but it is not exactly between them.

Flat-Earthers discovered images taken by the DSCOVR satellite showing the Moon in front of Earth and a solar eclipse shadow on Earth’s surface. Then they concluded it should be impossible if DSCOVR is really between the Sun and Earth. In reality, the DSCOVR satellite is not exactly between the Sun and Earth. It orbits a point between the Sun and Earth.

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Earthrise

Earthrise is a photograph of Earth that was taken from lunar orbit by William Anders during the Apollo 8 mission. It was taken just after Earth rises from behind the Moon.

From Earth, the Moon always shows the same face, and from a location on the Moon facing Earth, it is impossible to see Earth rising. Flat-Earthers use it to reject the Earthrise as fake. In reality, the photo was not taken from the lunar surface, but from the lunar orbit. Apollo 8 did not even land on the Moon.

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Seeing Stars in Space

Stars are dim. We can only see them if our eyes are adapted for low light. Astronauts in space can see the stars when the sun is blocked from view and avoid seeing any large sunlit objects.

Some astronauts said they did not notice the stars, but others claim they could see them. Flat-Earthers use the conflicting statements to discredit spaceflight. In reality, sometimes astronauts can see the stars, and sometimes cannot, just like us on the ground, depending on the situation.

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Visibility of Objects in Space Compared to Those on Earth’s Surface

Visibility is a measure of the distance at which an object can be clearly discerned. Visibility depends on the transparency of the air. There is no air in space to disrupt the transmission of light, and therefore, light can travel very far in space practically undisturbed.

The ISS can be seen clearer than objects on Earth’s surface far closer than the ISS. Flat-Earthers use the fact as “evidence” that the ISS is much closer. In reality, only a fraction of the light path from the ISS travels through the dense lower part of the atmosphere that will significantly affect the transmission of light.

On the other hand, light emitted by objects on Earth’s surface has to travel the entire path through Earth’s atmosphere.

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Crank Magnetism

Crank magnetism is the tendency of “cranks” to hold multiple irrational, unsupported, or ludicrous beliefs that are often unrelated. Crank magnetism also denotes the tendency of these people to accumulate more of such beliefs over time.

Those who believe flat Earth will tend to believe other “crank” ideas. Some of these ideas are necessary to support the belief in a flat Earth, like the hoax that moon landings did not happen. But most of these beliefs are not related to flat-Earth.

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“Moontruth” Prank Video

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In 2002, the advertising company Viral Factory filmed the “moontruth” video, which is a prank showing an “outtake” from the supposed faking of the “one small step” scene. The video shows “Neil Armstrong” (played by an actor) being interrupted by a falling studio light.

Flat-Earthers and other conspiracy theorists failed to realize that the video was just a viral prank video. It spreads in conspiracy theory circles as if it “proves” that the Apollo moon landing was faked.

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Communication Delays in Apollo Mission & The Direction of Conversation

Radio waves travel at the speed of light. In Apollo missions, after Houston said something, the response from the Moon arrived after 2½ seconds. But no delay occurred when Houston replied to the astronauts because the conversation was recorded on Earth.

Flat-Earthers use the lack of delay when Houston (and President Nixon) replied to the astronauts to discredit the Apollo missions. In reality, they cannot understand how the recording’s location and the direction of the conversation affected the delay in the recording.

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Tesla’s “Scientists Have Substituted” Quote

In the article “Radio Power will Revolutionize the World” in “Modern Mechanix and Inventions” magazine, July 1934 edition, Nikola Tesla stated:

“Today’s scientists have substituted mathematics for experiments and they wander off through equation after equation and eventually build a structure which has no relation to reality.”

Flat-Earthers like to use the quote to discredit science and scientists, unaware that in the article, Tesla mentioned that Earth is a sphere multiple times.

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Making-of or Behind-the-Scenes

In cinema, a making-of or behind-the-scenes is a documentary featuring the production of a film. It describes how the scenes in a movie were created. Some trolls took footage from the behind-the-scenes of various space movies and present them to flat-Earthers as though it is how space agencies “faked” their videos.

Flat-Earthers fail to realize that these footage were just behind-the-scenes of space movies and unrelated to the actual space footage from space agencies. These spread as hoaxes in flat-Earth circles.

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False Premise

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A false premise is an incorrect proposition that forms the basis of an argument. Since the premise is not correct, the conclusion may be in error.

The idea of flat Earth can spread because its followers failed to verify if the premises of the arguments are correct. If they bothered to check the truth of the premises, it is not difficult to understand that these arguments have no basis in reality.

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Sky

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The sky appears practically identical to all observers on Earth, except that the Earth obstructs the view to a different part of the sky to a different observer on Earth, and daylight obscures the view to most objects in the sky.

The fact that the sky appears identical everywhere on Earth can only be adequately explained if all the astronomical objects are very far from us and that the Earth is a sphere.

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Mutual Respect

Sometimes flat-earthers ask nicely and demand that the scientific and professional community treat them with respect and take them seriously. They ask everyone to respect them because, they say, only mutual respect can enable everyone to understand and determine the actual shape of the Earth.

In reality, it has been the wish of the general public the whole time. However, respect works both ways. If a flat-Earther starts respecting scientists, professionals & the general public, it will be no longer possible for them to retain the belief in a flat Earth. It does not matter how politely they make their demands, it cannot change the fact that disrespecting others is an integral part of the belief in a flat Earth and can never be separated.

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